Ways to keep your employees energized

Dear Professor Bruce: I have a small business with three employees. What’s the best way to energize these employees and keep productivity levels high during the current, economic turmoil?

Answer: According to CEO Theresa Welbourne of eePulse Inc., there are five easy ways to energize your employees and yourself, despite the economic turmoil you and others are experiencing:

1. Start having priority moments with your employees.

More than 70 percent of comments I see from literally thousands of employees are about lack of direction. The employees may know the big picture strategy, but what they are getting lost with is what to do today.

What is a priority moment? Have everyone stop what they are doing and either (1) get them in a room for a quick talk, or (2) write it up via e-mail or use Skype or instant messaging or Twitter. But ask them, right now, today, at this moment, to report their top three priorities. Then respond and help them out if they are off track.

2. Start a new trend — random celebrations.

Keep champagne on hand (non-alcoholic champagne, too).

One executive team member of eePulse decided at 4 p.m. to pop open a bottle and bring everyone into the kitchen to celebrate whatever they were doing. Then ask everyone to report out something to celebrate.

3. Measure people energy.

You can choose expensive, rigorous measurement systems or you can make it simple. Whatever you do, when you measure people energy, you do two things: (1) you hold managers accountable for the people factor, and (2) you energize people because now you are showing that they “count.” You create an intervention that makes employees feel more valued and energized. The measurement process can be via online tools or paper survey.

4. Get rid of barriers.

Employees don’t need magic cures; they just want you to get things out of their way. Most employees have some sort of barriers to productivity. There may be meetings they don’t think they need to attend, too many e-mails or a process that is antiquated. Ask what’s getting in the way, and then help employees remove barriers.

5. Celebrate the removal of barriers.

When you do the great work of removing barriers, make sure you tell everyone about it. Cycle back to item No. 2 and celebrate the wins.

For further information, please visit www.eepulse.com

Bruce Freeman, the Small Business Professor, is president of ProLine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm in Livingston, N.J. and author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Ten Speed Press). E-mail questions to Bruce@SmallBusinessProf.com.

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